Natural gas production at Mexico’s state-owned oil and gas giant Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) fell 8.9% year/year in January to 3.696 Bcf/d.

The figure is in step with a longer term trend of declining gas production in Mexico. Pemex produced 3.886 Bcf/d in 2018, 4.205 Bcf/d in 2017 and 4.866 Bcf/d in 2016, according to company statistics.

Associated gas from oil production accounted for the majority of January output, hitting 2.713 Bcf/d.

Pemex produces nearly all of Mexico’s natural gas. Gas production from independent companies that won contracts through Mexico’s energy reform process was 175 MMcf/d in December, according to the Centro Nacional de Información de Hidrocarburos (CNIH).

Meanwhile, Pemex produced 1.62 million b/d of crude in January, its lowest monthly figure since the state firm began keeping public records in 1990. During 2018, Pemex averaged 1.81 million b/d.

In December, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Pemex would increase natural gas production by 50% by 2024, reaching about 5.64 Bcf/d, mainly from projected gains in oil production.

However, many analysts suggest increasing gas production will be difficult given productivity and cash flow restraints at the state company — despite an increased 2019 budget and the financial bailout package announced by the new government in February.